Anyone using WhatsApp is part of at least one WhatsApp group. Before you know it, your phone is pinging all day long with WhatsApp messages from people you don’t even know, or with content you wouldn’t choose to be receiving. Here are ten tips for staying out of trouble on WhatsApp:
- The Billboard test
If you wouldn’t put it on a giant billboard, with your name, photograph and your company or school, don’t put it in a WhatsApp group (or on any social media). In fact- don’t let it exist in digital format at all!
- Keep it legal
Don’t post content that is defamatory, racist, insulting, untrue, threatening, which amounts to hate speech; invades someone’s privacy or which shares personal information of others.
- Keep it relevant
Keep the content relevant to the purpose of the group. If it’s a work group, stick to work-related topics. Avoid unrelated current affairs, memes, social issues, advertising or political posts.
- The screenshot is the devil
Don’t be fooled into thinking that what you post in a WhatsApp group will only be seen by the members of the group. Anyone in the group can take a screenshot of the content and share it with a wider audience, creating a digital trail of the content that is very difficult to keep control of.
- Delete messages sent in error
All hope is not lost if you send a message to the wring group. You have up to 7 minutes to delete messages sent by mistake, and they will disappear from all groups.
- Only respond if necessary
The volume of messages on WhatsApp groups can be overwhelming. You do not need to acknowledge receipt of every single message.
- Disassociate from inappropriate content
If you are aware of inappropriate content in a WhatsApp group, you need to actively disassociate yourself from the content by either leaving the group or voicing an objection on the group e.g. by saying “That is not ok.”
- Share your live location
If you are scared for your safety, use the live location sharing for 15 minutes or an hour on WhatsApp to share your location with groups of family or friends.
- Mute to avoid distraction
You don’t need to read all your WhatsApp messages immediately. Mute some of your WhatsApp groups to avoid constant distraction.
- Take it offline
Conversations between only two people should be taken off the group!